Importance and Working of the Airbag System in your Car

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Importance of the Airbag in your Car

Every time we drive a vehicle, we are at risk, right? This is why we need to take each and every precautionary measure while driving a vehicle. One of the most significant safety feature of your vehicle is the airbag system. It is a safety component that comes to use especially during an accident. In case of a car crash, car airbags act as the difference makers. Many cars meet with accidents every year and the deployment of airbags in cars saves their lives. However, the car airbags have to be deployed within just a few milli-seconds right after the crash. This ensures the protection of the driver as well as passengers during a crash.

What is an Airbag in a car?

It is basically an inflatable safety device that has been designed to keep the passengers protected in a car, in case of a collision. Since these are part of an occupant restraint system, they are also called air cushion restraint systems. However, you have to take the basic protection by fastening the seat belts which are supplemented by airbags. You need to know that the efficiency of the airbags directly depends a lot on the seatbelt. When an accident happens, the airbag fills up in the fastest possible time and provides cushioning to the people in the car. This saves them from any injury. And when they have fastened the seatbelt, it enhances the effectiveness of the airbags.

The airbags come with a diagnostic monitoring unit, an airbag module, a steering wheel that connects the coil, crash sensors, and an indicator lamp. All of these parts are interconnected and are charged by the battery in the vehicle. Backup power is provided to the airbags so that they can keep functioning even if the battery gets disconnected. Components that are needed for the operation of airbags mostly remain dormant for several years. In order to ensure that the airbags are functional, an internal self-test is carried out in each startup.

The airbag system comes with a crash system which stops the airbags from inflating when a car moves over a pothole or a bump, or even if a minor collision happens.

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How do airbags work?

  • Right in front of the cars, crash sensors are present. These sensors detect sudden decelerations and electrical signals so that an initiator can be activated.
  • There is a thin wire provided in the initiator that heats up as well as penetrates the propellant chamber. Finally, the chemical propellant undergoes a rapid chemical reaction. This reaction is called a pyrotechnic chain.
  • This particular reaction results in the production of nitrogen gas which fills the airbag. The expanding gas then inflates the airbag in less than a second.
  • The plastic module covers the opens up and inflates in front of the individual who sits in the car. The bag inflates one-tenth of a second and after the impact, it deflates three-tenths of a second.
  • The inner side of the airbag has a coating of cornstarch or some have talcum powder coating, which releases after the bag is opened.

Also Read: Safest Cars in India with Highest NCAP Ratings 2022

Safety concerns about airbags

Ever since the concept of auto airbags was introduced, experts always recommended that the airbags have to be used with seat belts so that maximum safety can be received. Airbags offer protection only for front-end collisions; this is why seat belts are very important. These days, the side-mounted airbags have also become quite common and much opted for. However, rear-end collisions and secondary impacts, as well as crashes, are not supported by the airbags.

The force in which the airbag opens is a major concerning factor as it can hurt people who are positioned too close to it. The risk zone for driver airbags should be around 5 to 8 cm of inflation.  The minimum distance of an individual from an airbag should be around 25 cm. This provides a margin for safety. This distance can be maintained if we follow some methods. The methods are mentioned herein below:

  • Adjust the steering wheel: If you have an adjustable steering wheel, you have to point the airbag towards the chest, and not to the head and neck. You can do this by tilting the steering wheel downward.
  • Recline the back of your seat: This may vary from one car to the other, as you choose the reclining option, it can help you to achieve the 10-inch distance that will guarantee your safety.
  • Move the seat: You must try to move the seat to the rear end of the car and at the same time ensure that you are able to reach all the pedals very conveniently.

Nevertheless, these sets of rules are not the same for children. If a child is unbuckled and sits too close to the airbag, he/she might get hurt or even be killed because of the force of the airbag when it opens. This is why; some safety parameters should be followed to make sure the children are safe in the car.

  • Infants under one year of age should not be made to sit in the front seat of the car where the passenger side airbag is available.
  • Children more than the age of 1 year, who are sitting in the front seat of the cars that have passenger-side airbags should sit in a front-facing child safety seat. Also, you need to make sure that the seat has been moved as far back as it is possible.
  • Children up to the age of 12 years should sit in an age-appropriate seat in the back seat of the car. They should be buckled up while sitting in the car.

While you take all the safety measures while driving your car, you need to make sure you have bought motor insurance for your car. Even if the car meets with an accident, you can get funds for the damage to the vehicle.

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Gayatri Prabhu, Head-Digital Business at Mahindra Insurance Brokers Limited (MIBL) is one those few digital leaders who has the width and depth that is required to execute an ROI driven holistic digital strategy. She cuts through the noise, identifies the critical levers and leads her team to successful execution of the defined strategy. Her core mantra to win new and retain existing customers is: understand the consumer behavior and craft experiences around it.

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